I’ve written before about how freelancing is the fastest way to earn your first $1000. But, how exactly do you pick your first freelance writing niche?
When starting out as a freelancer, it pays to pick a niche… or two. It’s an effective way to earn more money, attract clients and get ahead of the competition. Below, I share five ways to pick your freelance writing niche.
But first, let’s look at why you want to specialize…
- It’s easier to write. Writing about something you know is easier than writing about something you have to Google every five minutes. Words pour onto the page, your work is more rewarding, and you can focus on honing your craft as a writer.
- It’s more profitable. Quickly writing content means you get paid more, for two reasons. First, you produce higher quality content and can position yourself as an expert. You create the type of work clients pay more money for. Second, you produce content faster. So instead of writing one article per day for $60, you write two articles per day for $120 each… that’s $240 per day… And chances are, you can earn this before lunch. Compare this to the writer who spends all day researching the topic, before writing a word.
- There’s less competition. Let’s say you run a local gym and you need content for your website. You post a job on Upwork, and you see two proposals. The first looks like this:
I’m a passionate writer who has written for a wide range of industries. There is nothing I can’t write about. I deliver quality work on time. Blah, blah, blah…
The second looks like this:
I’ve been working out since I was 17. I live and breathe fitness. I read about it daily, and I write about it daily. When clients hire me, it’s because I understand their audience on a deep level. This makes my content stand out and deliver value to your readers. You can find examples of my work in the fitness industry here, here, and here.
As a gym owner, which writer would you hire? Finding a freelance writing niche makes you stand out from the competition and allows you to quickly deliver great content for your clients.
Find Your Freelance Writing Niche
Now, let’s help you find your first freelance writing niche(s). Start by answering the following questions.
Question 1: What are your hobbies (past and present)? Include everything you enjoyed doing as a child even if you no longer pursue that hobby.
Question 2: What subjects interest you? Pick topics you wouldn’t mind learning more about. Think about nonfiction books you read for pleasure or documentaries you enjoy watching.
Question 3: What jobs have you had in the past? List everything, even the summer job you had as a teenager.
Question 4: What subjects have you studied beyond high school level? These are topics where you already have a deep knowledge.
Question 5: What unique experiences do you have? Examples include starting a business, joining the military, dealing with trauma, participating in a sport.
Next, ask yourself – are any of these interests profitable? Are clients actively seeking writers in these areas? Are there books on Amazon? Are there job postings on Upwork, Craigslist, or job boards?
Here’re some ideas I came up with the first time I did this exercise:
Question 1: Sailing, skiing, reading, traveling, writing.
Question 2: Business, online marketing, history, productivity, success, earning money on the side.
Question 3: Retail, pharmaceuticals, finance, technology.
Question 4: Computer science, business.
Question 5: Started a business, wrote several books, made money on Airbnb.
If you take the distinct topics, I have over ten viable writing niches. In my first three months as a freelancer, I went on to find freelancing jobs in the following areas: Airbnb, skiing, online business, and writing.
Give this exercise a go and you’ll be surprised at how many subjects you can write about.
An Alternative Freelance Writing Niche
If you’re struggling to find a niche, there’s another approach you can try. Instead of choosing a topic, pick a type of writing instead.
There are countless areas you can specialize in. For example, you could write whitepapers, blog posts, eBooks, advertising copy, grants, emails, case studies, video scripts, and so on.
Bonus Tip: If you have a topic you’re interested in and a type of writing you’re good at, combine the two. For example, you could be an email writer for parenting websites or a whitepaper writer for biotechnology companies.
You Can Have More Than One Niche
Don’t rush this process. Take your time and find a profitable niche you enjoy. The payoff is worth it — you wake up each day excited to start work.
And don’t think you need to stick with one specialty. When starting out, I recommend targeting two or three niches.
Look for jobs in your selected areas. If something doesn’t work, then pick another subject. Keep trying new things until you find what works for you.
Use my questions above to discover what makes you tick. And don’t forget — a niche doesn’t have to be a specific subject. It can also be a type of writing you enjoy and are good at.
Finally, don’t be afraid to switch niches if you change your mind. There’s no set formula here. That’s the beauty of freelance writing — you’re the boss, and you make the rules!
For a step-by-step guide to starting a freelance writing business, check out Make Money As A Freelance Writer. Our book teaches you how to find a niche, land high paying clients, set up your business, and more. Click below to see it on Amazon.